According to a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups are continuing to rise.
In 2018, there were 49 groups classified as a LGBTQ hate group. In 2019, that number increased 43 percent to 70 anti-LBTQ hate groups.
While the total number of hate groups tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center dipped about 8 percent (940 general hate groups in 2019, compared to 1,020 in 2018), the decline is not significant enough to argue there’s been a fundamental shift in the growing trend over the last several years.
For the record, this surge is part of a rising movement since Trump took office. As the report shows, the number of white nationalist groups rose for the second straight year — which, collectively, is a 55 percent increase since 2017.
“The alarming rise of hate violence in our communities and bigoted rhetoric within mainstream political discourse has thus far failed to prompt a proportionate response from community leaders and political officials,” the report reads. “We are no more prepared for a backlash of hate violence that could surround the coming 2020 election than we were in 2016.”
The report continued, “It is time to move beyond the illusion that hate violence and extremism is merely a criminal crisis in America. It is also a political crisis. It has to be engaged politically. Just as there was a national movement against racial segregation in the 1960s, there now needs to be a national movement against hate violence in America.”
One of the reasons behind the surge, the report argues, has to do with a rise in anti-LGBTQ sentiment and policies within the current administration.
Many of the new anti-LGBTQ groups are grassroots churches like the Faithful World Baptize Church in Tempe, Az., as well as organizations like the Family Research Council, which hosts the annual Value Voters Summit — an event Trump never misses. Last year at the summit, he vocally opposed the Equality Act, a bill that could make it illegal nationwide to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
“Anti-LGBTQ groups have become intertwined with the Trump administration, and — after years of civil rights progress and growing acceptance among the broader American public — anti-LGBTQ sentiment within the Republican Party is rising,” the report continued. “Though Trump promised during his campaign to be a ‘real friend’ to the LGBTQ community, he has fully embraced anti-LGBTQ hate groups and their agenda of dismantling federal protections and resources for LGBTQ people.”
A hate group is defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an organization that, “based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities, has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”
Read more about the report at the Southern Poverty Law Center.